Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nice Day for a Wine Wedding

As you might have noticed, there haven't been any postings of late. I'm feeling rather guilty about that, but life happens - a bit of work, bit of vacation, house chores that don't involve a computer and some daunting posts. I've delayed a bit with the current post because it's a hefty one to write. There were some honkin' wines here - if you knew where to look or who to stand by. The fact that I didn't know all of the wines or have a "nom de ma plume" for the bride doesn't help either.

It wasn't long ago that I'd said I figured 50th birthday parties were the new weddings for my set. Lo and behold, less than a couple of weeks later, I'm invited to a wedding. True, it was as a date for my sister, Vixen, but it is a wedding all the same. My sis didn't have a date that would be as much fun as me and I did know the bride and groom. However, I gave her an out in that I said she could dump me at any time prior to the wedding if a real date (read "potential shag") suddenly appeared. I wasn't about to be dropped for anyone or anything less.

I wanted to go because this wasn't going to be just any wedding, the Guru and his lady decided to officially tie the knot - and the Guru was raiding his well-endowed wine cellar for some treats.

Vixen had been tipped off, in advance, that there were going to be some gems - other than on the bride's ring - under the table. Not that the regular hoi-polloi were being served homemade U-Brew - although I suppose that in a way they were. It's just that their "home" made wine was a batch made up for the happy couple by their friends at Pacific Breeze winery.

Being the good date that I am, I was the designated driver; so I had to be better behaved than I would have liked to have been at the bar. But that wasn't going to stop me completely - and the Guru pointed me in the direction of a couple of bottles when they were being opened.

199. Some kick butt Riesling - likely from some world-renowned German slope in the Mosel. However, I didn't actually get to see the bottle because my glass was being discretely poured under the table. I'm hoping to hear what the bottle was from the Guru in the near future so that I can officially add it to The List.

Apart from not knowing one of the wines I tried, I also haven't been given a blog-name for the bride. I was toying with The Bride of Frank'n'Wine, but that'd only be good for one post I should think. If she gives me a longer lasting name, I can always amend things later.

200. 1997 Dominus (Napa - California)

It's very befitting of the Number 200 bottle on The List that it be a star like this wine. Dominus is the proprietary wine for Christian Moueix and his historic Napanook vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley. The Moueix family also owns Chateau Petrus - one of the most sought after wines out of Bordeaux.

This wine is also a Bordeaux or Meritage blend, with this vintage being 87% Cab Sauv, 9% Cab Franc and 4% Merlot - unlike its famous cousin Petrus which is all Merlot.

I just saw an an e-mail for Kits Wine Cellars and they were offering the '94, '99 and 04' vintages of Dominus for sale at prices ranging from $133 to $240. I can safely say that we weren't serving wines at this price level at our wedding last year.

My guess is that a number of the other guests were impressed by the "under-the-table" stash because I was standing next to the Guru at the bar at one point in the evening when he was choosing another bottle to open. I saw a helluva lot of heads turn towards the bar when the Guru bent over - and I doubt anyone was checking out the fit of the groom's tuxedo pants.

201. 1999 Tenuta di San Leonardo (Trentino Alto Adige IGT -Italy)

The next bottle that I tried was a Super Tuscan that wasn't from Tuscany. Like the Dominus, this was a Bourdeaux blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot (60/30/10) but it wasn't so Cabernet Sauvignon based. Seeing as how none of the three grapes are traditional varietals for this region around Verona, the winery has to use the "lower" level of classification of IGT. Those French grapes don't rate so well when it comes to Italian DOC requirements.

Tenuta di San Leonardo is also an historical estate; however, its lineage is perhaps a bit longer than Dominus. The roots of this vineyard go back 1500 years with the current family having been in control of the property since the 18th Century.

It might be seen as being a tad cheesy to talk of nothing but wine at a wedding, but, then again, this is a wine blog. I will state that the reception was full of laughs and some mean dancing. This bride actually did kick up her heals to Billy Idol's "White Wedding." I particularly loved the fact that the cake featured a groom carrying golf clubs and a bride scowling with her arms crossed.

Having to pace myself as all these wines were coming out from under the table was a chore, but I have to be thankful for just getting the opportunity to try all the wines that I did. I managed one more wine before calling it a night and it was one of the big guns that I was well aware of from my days in the Australia Wine Appreciation Society.

202. 1998 Hardy's Eileen Hardy (South Australia)

Eileen Hardy is the flagship Shiraz for the Hardy's winery. It was originally bottled in honour of the family matriarch's 80th birthday and has been an eagerly awaited wine ever since. In fact, this vintage was called the best Aussie red wine of the year by one Australian scribe.

The wine is designated as a South Australia wine as it blends the winery's top Shiraz grapes from whichever areas are seen as performing best in a given year. This vintage saw a blend of 76% from McLaren Vale, 12% from Padthaway and 10% from the Clare Valley.

Tasting notes wouldn't even matter with wines like this. I don't have any of these bottles at home to drink. I likely wouldn't splurge for them even if a restaurant still had a bottle. And, except on exceptional circumstances and big prices, I likely wouldn't be able to find them and buy them anywhere in any event. So, I'll simply enjoy them for what they were - a great way to celebrate a wonderful evening.

All my best to the happy couple. Hopefully, we'll get to share many more bottles over the years.

But I do hope that The Bride of Frank'n'Wine gives me a better name for herself. Soon. Besides, the Guru's real name isn't "Frank."

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